Prepare People for a Great Massage in 7 Easy Steps has been building a community of massage therapists interested in promoting evidence-informed practice for the massage therapy profession.   We want to help prospective massage therapy students find the right school to start their massage careers and then help them get their careers off the ground by providing them with the resources and advice they’ll need to succeed.  This will be our first attempt to jointly develop a resource for new or not-so-new therapists to use in their practices.  Please feel free to share this post with anyone who has an interest in promoting massage therapy.

Below is a generic article explaining how to prepare for a massage.  Our hope is get our community to help us edit this article and come up with a document that is backed by scientific evidence.  We’ll then format this into a handout that therapists can make available to their clients at no charge. Those participating can even determine the format: PDF, WordDoc, infographic, etc.

How to Prepare for a Massage

There’s more to a massage than the physical contact. As a masseuse, you have to prepare your clients for their massages by setting the scene for a great experience. You also need to make sure your clients come prepared. Suggest the following steps to your clients so they come to their appointment in the right mindset for a relaxing massage.


signing in for massage

Image via Flickr by UF InfoCommons

Encourage clients to be as thorough as possible when they complete their health intake forms, so you can perform your job well. Explain that you need the information to check for allergies to the lotions and oils you use, and to tailor your massage based on their problem areas or injuries.

Step 2: Eat Light Food Before the Massage

packaged lunch

Image via Flickr by Premshree Pillai

Tell clients to wait to have their meals until after their massage. Having a full stomach can make people uncomfortable during a massage because their digestive system might interfere with their relaxation. For instance, when people are full, they have to worry about gas or an upset stomach.

Step 3: Take a Warm Bath Before Arriving for a Massage

legs sticking out of bath

Image via Flickr by mcfcrandall

Warm water is relaxing, so tell your clients to take a warm shower or bath before arriving for their massage. This is a great way to prepare the body for a great massage because it will already be relaxed.

Step 4: Spend Some Time Stretching

guy stretching on sidewalk

Image via Flickr by Tobyotter

People need to stretch their muscles before working out to avoid injury, and the same is true for a massage. People are more likely to complain about a massage hurting or being uncomfortable if their muscles start out too tense; stretching can help alleviate this and create a better massage experience..

Step 5: Wear Light Clothing

girl dressed for a massage

Image via Flickr by lululemon athletica

Lots of people are uncomfortable with taking off their clothes for a massage. Suggest an alternative: your clients can prepare for their massage by wearing light clothing. That way you can do your job without the client feeling modest.

Step 6: Listen to Calming Music on the Way to the Massage Session

woman listening to music preparing for a massage

Image via Flickr by lism

Although you’ll be playing calming music in your massage office during therapy sessions, your clients can also benefit from relaxing music on their commute to your office.

Step 7: Arrive on Time


Image via Flickr by azmichellRemind clients to give themselves plenty of time to arrive for their massage appointment. When people are running behind, they tend to get stressed and feel hurried. Transitioning away from anxiety to a state of being relaxed can take time.  Clients will get more out of their appointments if not worried about being late.

Clients who follow these seven steps should arrive at your office ready for a great massage. Of course, you’ll have to do some prepping of your own, but getting your clients prepared is half the  battle.

Is there anything else you can tell your clients to prepare them before they arrive?


  • Rodney Trepess

    We’ve received our first comment via email. We’ve been told not to use the word masseuse.